Children's Institute

Switch to desktop

Completed Projects

Theorising children’s participation: Learning across countries and across disciplines

This academic network, funded by the Leverhulme Trust between 2009 and 2011, aimed to advance critical thinking on the participation of children in the public arena. It brought together a multi-disciplinary team of scholars from Brazil, India, South Africa and the UK. The Children’s Institute hosted the first in a series of three international seminars on children’s participation, and contributed to the publication of  a special issue of an accredited journal, and a forthcoming book, on the topic of theorising children's public participation.
The network was hosted by the University of Edinburgh and drew together a multi-disciplinary team of scholars from:

  • Brazil (International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)
  • India (University of Delhi and Jamia Millia Islamia University),
  • South Africa (Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town), and
  • the UK (universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, Bath and Bristol).

The network aimed to engage in a process of critical thinking on the participation of children in the public arena and to strengthen the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of ‘children’s participation’, which has become a much-used phrase within practice and policy over the past two decades.

This included:
  • Mapping out different disciplines’ theoretical approaches to participation, exploring their strengths and weaknesses in the local context and examining their usefulness for understanding ‘children’s participation’.
  • Interrogating how theories of children’s participation can encapsulate local, regional and international differentiations.
  • Developing advanced theoretical frameworks within which to conceptualise children’s participation.

The network’s programme featured a series of 10-day exchange visits in South Africa, India and Brazil. Each visit included an interdisciplinary seminar and workshops with children involved in local children's participation projects to maximise engagement across different disciplines and ground theorising in local practice.

Several of the papers from the South African seminar were published in a special issue of the accredited journal Perspectives in Education. Palgrave MacMillan will publish a book on the topic in 2013, with chapter contributions by several Children's Institute staff members.

Information about the network is available from the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.

 

Further reading

Children and participation in South Africa: Exploring the landscape
Bray R & Moses S 2011
Perspectives in Education. Special issue: Theorising children’s public participation: Cross-disciplinary perspectives and their implications for education, 29(1), March 2011: 6-17.

Theorising creative expression in children’s participation
Henderson P 2011
Perspectives in Education. Special issue: Theorising children’s public participation: Cross-disciplinary perspectives and their implications for education, 29(1), March 2011: 19-27.

Theorising children’s participation: Trans-disciplinary perspectives from South Africa
Pendlebury S, Henderson P & Tisdall EKM 2011
Perspectives in Education. Special issue: Theorising children’s public participation: Cross-disciplinary perspectives and their implications for education, 29(1), March 2011: 1-5.

Theorising children's participation: Learning across countries and across disciplines
Report on the seminar hosted by the Children's Institute, Cape Town, 6 − 8 April 2009.

Copyright © 2012 Children's Institute, University of Cape Town

Top Desktop version